Where do you start your novel?
You might ask, "What do you mean, where do I start my story? I start it at the beginning."
"Yeah, yeah, I know that, but how much back story, character history, world building and things you researched about your novel do you feel you have to share with your readers in the first fifty pages?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Because you're doing it wrong."
"I oughta beat you up. I've been writing for years and my readers love me."
"Well I disagree. Let me tell you about the novel I'm reading right now."
What Should You Do? How do You Write an Opening Scene and not Lose Readers?
I've gotten pretty good at writing and publishing eBooks. I've done three of them and I think I know what's needed, but this article is about the printed book. I published Zita's Revenge as an eBook in early January. Then I began the project of setting up the print book. I decided to make a paperback book instead of a hardcover. I figured that would be easier than dealing with a book jacket for a hard cover book.
Well here are the issues I encountered on my journey to print. I'm putting this in writing to remind me next time of issues to watch for as I set up the next book, hopefully the next, book 3, will be ready before Christmas. Here are the five areas I struggled with, mostly with my own stubborness and high anxiety self.
As a former marathoner and now a writer I can say, "Seriously, long distance running and writing have a lot of commonalities."
You can't train for a marathon in one day
It takes a long world view to succeed as a long distance runner. It's the same with writers, authors and novelists. Don't go into writing thinking that you'll train for a week and then write a best seller. It's kind of a dangerous environment for indie authors. Traditional publishers, agents and editors used to work as gatekeepers, which can be both positive or negative. Negative for writers who have submitted ten, fifty or even one-hundred manuscripts out to multiple publishers. Many authors got the manuscript back with a big "Rejected" written across the face of the manuscript. But then they put in the work to edit and get reader feedback and send it out again. They took classes, read books and went to conferences. They did the work over a long period of time honing their writing craft and learning how to create a book that publishers and readers wanted to read. The positive to the gatekeepers were the writers became better writers.
Today's indie authors don't have those gatekeepers telling them, "this far and no further." They find a cheap editor or have a family member edit their manuscript and slap a cover on it and send it to Amazon and other retailers. "Boom, look I'm published," they exclaim. That's the same as a runner thinking that running around the block a few times makes them a long distance runner, instead of putting in miles and miles of practice runs.
Today's feelings don't help you perform.
You have to work through your "feelings." I won't lie, as a long-distance runner, there were many days I wanted to say, "No More Running." I don't feel like running today. It doesn't matter, you have to push through your feelings. Writers need to sit down at the keyboard and put in the practice. It's a discipline that is hard to achieve but makes a difference whether you'll reach your writing goals.